Are you ready for some early morning hockey T-Town?! Hope you are, because that’s what you are going to get on tomorrow’s Wednesday morning Central Division match up featuring the Kalamazoo Wings and your Toledo Walleye! The game will take place in Kalamazoo and kicks off a three game road trip for Toledo. In this 10:30 a.m. game both Toledo and Kalamazoo are coming off a loss to the Wheeling Nailers. The loss ended Toledo’s seven game win streak, but they are still second in the league with 14 points trailing fellow Central Division foe Tulsa. Time to take a look at the coming match up between the Walleye and Wings.
League Standing: 2nd place at 7-2-0-0 and 14 points
Western Conference Standings: 2nd
Central Division Standing: 2nd
Goals Scored Average: 4.44, with 40 total goals ranking 3rd
Goals Allowed Average: 3, with 27 goals allowed ranking 12th
Power Play: 13.5%, 21st with 5 goals scored on 37 chances
Penalty Kill: 83.8%, 15th with 6 goals against on 37 chances
League Standing: 10th place at 5-3-0-1 and 11 points
Western Conference Standing: 5th
Central Division Standing: 4th
Goals Scored Average: 2.67, with 24 goals scored ranking 19th
Goals Allowed Average: 2.67, with 24 goals allowed ranking 10th
Power Play: 17.0%, 16th with 8 goals scored on 47 chances
Penalty Kill: 83.9%, 12th with 5 goals against on 31 chances
Toledo lost their last game against Wheeling due in part to a poor defensive performance during the second period, where the Nailers had 20 shots on goal (SOG) leading to three goals. One of these goals occurred during a 5 on 3 that started the second period. For comparison, Toledo only had 7 SOG in the second. The Walleye allowed 5 unanswered goals, one empty netter, on Saturday after they scored two quick goals in the first thanks to Scott Czarnowczan and A.J. Jenks. Wheeling came out and controlled the flow of game after they scored early in the second, which led to Toledo looking uncomfortable and unable to regain their rhythm for the rest of the game.
Once again our defense is suspect, which is proving to be recurring issue. Hopefully with the addition of Czarnowczan we will begin to reduce the SOG count for our opponent, once Coach Delmore was able to get a few practices with the new defensive unit prior to tomorrows match. Offensively we are still putting up points, but when you fall silent five minutes after the start of a game you need to make some adjustments. As a side note: Zach Nastasiuk rejoined the Walleye and had an assist during the Saturday game against Wheeling, and Tyson Spink extended his point streak to 8 games with an assist on Czarnowczan’s goal.
Against Kalamazoo the Walleye will have to get back to their style of hockey: fast paced, high puck movement and more quality shots. On Saturday Wheeling netminder Doug Carr didn’t have many difficult saves after giving up two quick goals, so we need to increase traffic and put the pressure on the Wings goalie tomorrow. Both Kalamazoo and Toledo have average special teams, so I see the 5 on 5 play being a larger factor here. As long as we do that and step up our defensive game, we have a good chance of coming out on top. Let’s Go Walleye!